Languishing in the shadows of the stunning performance of North Asian stock markets over recent weeks is the local Singapore 30 Index, with a mere 3.19% year-to-date gain. This compares to the Hong Kong 43 with a 15.5% return and the Hong Kong China H-Shares coming in at 16.71%. Still, Singapore 30 managed to touch a level of 3480, a seven-year high on Friday. This may have been the result of the overall attention on Asian bourses as Chinese names in the north caught fire, with the Hang Seng gaining almost 10% just last week alone. While last week’s funds flows have mainly been the result of Chinese money let loose to buy into HK, another factor is the fund flows coming into Asia from other continents. Often, this has been in the form of new funds raised for Asian-committed ETFs. If that is the case, Singapore shares may also benefit - perhaps even out of default - from any spill-over and perhaps even attempt to narrow the disparity in performance with their North-Asian counterparts.

Potential surprises ahead

Several triggers may drive action here this week. For one, the government is scheduled to release preliminary GDP numbers on Tuesday, before the market opens. This week we will also see the beginning of the first-quarter reporting season, with announcements from several blues like SPH and the Keppel stable of companies. While earnings for Singapore-listed companies are not expected to be very flattering, a lot of this may already be reflected in the prices of their shares here. Further, with markets always keen to take their lead from the forward statements accompanying these earnings releases, there is potential for upside surprises.
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